Want to know what a career is really like? Ask someone with first-hand experience. Talking to people about their jobs and asking them for advice and information is called an informational interview. It can be as simple as striking up conversations with friends about their occupations or more involved by scheduling meeting or appointments with contacts at specific organizations. To take full advantage of this career exploration tool requires time, commitment and a methodical approach. We also have specific tips for alumni.
Many individuals hesitate to contact others for fear of imposing or asking for help. This is where the Alumni Career Network can be a benefit. CWRU alumni from a wide variety of professions have volunteered to share their knowledge and experience through this network.
Register with the Alumni Career Network to browse industries and career tracks and connect with experienced alumni for career advice and networking.
Here are a few tips to be successful when planning or conducting an informational interview.
- Be prompt, professionally dress and courteous. Promptness also counts when conducting a phone or video call.
- Ask if you can follow up and report back on the advice you receive. (Did you follow their advice? What happened?)
- Ask if there are any recommendations for other contacts to expand your network.
- Ask questions for which you really need the answers. Avoid questions about topic you can easily research yourself.
- Use all opportunities to network on campus like the Alumni Career Network, events and career fairs.
- Don't be discouraged if someone doesn't return your request for an informational interview.
- Don't ask your contact if they can assist you with getting a job, internship or co-op.